Thank you Westword for this generous nod as Best of RiNo Boutique in Denver for 2012. Starting up a new business nowadays or any day has never been easy. Unless accomplished, one might find it difficult to fully appreciate the sacrifices necessary to make a business survive, let alone thrive. And wherever MegaFauna happens to fall within that spectrum, finding this kind of recognition by some folks in Denver is a great vote of confidence.
Westword Denver Best of RiNo Boutique, MegaFauna
If you’ll indulge me, a bit of back story and philosophy behind what exactly we are trying to do here with the collective of artists at MegaFauna. My hope is that with greater understanding, perhaps you too will take time to visit and support a renewed vision of the conscious consumer culture through our network of artists, designers, musicians and professional services.
The mission of MegaFauna is to support the evolution of the conscious consumer culture through independent and sustainable business practices.
Pretty broad in scope and definitely more than just a retail store. I suppose this is the effect that takes guests away when they visit, along with all the rad art and apparel. MegaFauna’s goal is to become an epicenter of change through programs focused on providing independent artists (designers, crafts people, jewelers, mixed media, musicians, et al) the tools, skills and network necessary to become successful. I can hear mentors cringing as I divulge my path. But this is relative to the point of the organization. All of the information, training methods, resources and people are out there, but there is so much. Where does one begin? What information do we trust? How do we tell the real from the fake?
We are all dealing with the same set of cards in a way and asking for help with your hand when we all we are all holding the same cards and playing by the same rules, things fall apart.
Time for new rules.
Five years ago I had shunned a successful career with corporate America because I felt a loss for the real. I was living a happy hour lifestyle, living the fancy life, the cars, the trips, you name it. Sounds enviable but somehow in all of this “success,” life just felt empty. So I quit, had all my money and possessions stolen (longer story) and I started from square one.
When you start over, at any age, all the accolades, the money you used to make, the education even, doesn’t count for shit. When you find yourself on the street you learn new rules, you learn a new reality, you learn about reality. In essence, we are trained that we as a society base success on how far we should remove ourselves from this reality. We are wedged increasingly further away from this reality by innumerable layers of consumer fluff, dictated through mainstream media/advertising/politics/education….. Then a nice “recession” hits, or another war, or some inevitable disaster, or social crisis and away we all go. Each of us forced even further down our socially reinforced roles. I’m not going to get into the better or worse scenarios because of my particular background (generally accepted social barriers – race, gender, ethnicity, economies, etc.,) tangibly, physically, mentally, spiritually; I was at the bottom.
My friend Robert Bell, just getting out of art school back East, calls me one day to ask if I would help throw an art function for him. The success of this show builds confidence on our lifelong friendship and dedication to support one another. Then some fun ideas for some T-shirts comes about. We begin to sell shirts, funny off-branded creations and spoofs of characters we all know love and idolize, tongue-in-cheek style.
Rob and I had created a niche and didn’t know it. DeRailed Ink was born within a year and we were off. Alternative sports apparel with that “instant vintage” appeal. It took less than two years before we realized the challenges emerging artists and companies faced. Even with that good ole fashioned State schooling we just couldn’t break through. The MEGA corporate red tape, the politics, the bar was set; so it would seem. Unless we set our own bar? See the problem with all this religiously-manifested corporate culture is that, it’s empty. It doesn’t stand for anything. If you want to be something you have to be about something.
For me there was a natural step to move DeRailed Ink into a store but because of so many barriers to entry this just wasn’t possible. So I got another job, then another, then another. I think at one point I was up to five. The DeRailed Ink team worked and saved and one day, after about 4 years I had scraped enough together to open the MegaFauna store at 2701 Larimer, in the Greater Five Points Neighborhoods, Denver. Again it didn’t mean anything if we just abandoned everyone that supported us along the way just to open “our” store. So, it occurred to me to allow other like minded organizations into the space and our collective of people was born.
This is why the name MegaFauna, we the people are the MegaFauna. We are no different from those prehistoric beasts of the past. If people don’t begin to support one another in everything that we do, we will simply disappear. The dinosaurs didn’t have the capacity to invoke this change, but people can. Unless we evolve our conscious behavior and begin to look forward to certain changes, all of this; society, technology, “higher thought” won’t mean shit. We’re on a compulsively-consumptive rate that by any measuring stick, and whichever side of the aisle of bs you stand on, this existence will continue to separate classes, resources, etc, until we are at a crisis. Don’t believe me, but believe the trends of the hyper population centers of the world. Believe the very real ramifications hyper consumption take on area like the Middle East, Far East and so on. < not tomorrow, I’m talking long-term paths here>
We have to start somewhere.
Money can’t make food grow on trees, money can’t stop war, money can’t make people treat other people better, but people can. So we, the people, involve ourselves into programs, at first, to begin to fix some of these social missteps. Stop spending money outside when we need it inside. Stop growing food somewhere else, when we need it here, localize and maximize on the local level. There is talent all across the world and programs available to INpower every one of these people, but exhausted, mismanaged/misled resources, and exhaustive priorities prevent necessary changes and direction. Let’s stop putting the pressure on someone else to take you to the water, pick up a shovel and dig to it yourself.
For MegaFauna and the growing collective, the point to all of this is, no one caved. No bending to some corporate agenda, or some subsidized government bailed-out bank based on fakes means to false ends on the backs of irresponsible behavior. We started this with the intention of giving back. And everyday this is what we do, we provide a platform for independent minds to support themselves.
MegaFauna is about the people because we the people are MegaFauna.
Thank you for supporting local creativity and providing a foundation for the evolution of the consumer conscious. Please continue to show support for independent art, music, education, farming, professional and service industries. You will frequently see the MegaFauna brand or sponsorship tagged to events. It is important for me that you know Why we are doing what we’re doing and that with this knowledge you too will support these events, performances and collaborations. Keep believing in the good of human spirit and keep an eye out, we’re just getting started.
Best of RiNo Boutique 2012 caption below
“When it opened last spring, a door away from the Meadowlark, MegaFauna announced itself to be “a soapbox for those who have grown weary of the corporate brand.” And to its credit, the crew of local cheerleaders behind the RiNo boutique have stuck to their guns by showcasing Denver designers, artists and screen-printers. Dreamed up (with help from the Meadowlark’s Loy Merck, who owns the building) by Rob Bell and John McCaskill of DeRailed Ink, a small T-shirt studio, the store is casual in vibe and in particular specializes in reasonably priced hand-run posters and clothing (including DeRailed Ink’s in-house screened Broncos tees). Also represented are unique Denver designers — clothing by Havea Lolo and beautiful repurposed furniture and lamp shades by Jeanne Connolly’s Vintage Renewal — plus jewelry and JammyPack speaker bags. Given its location, MegaFauna strives to be something like a general store of old, only one that sells something slightly different from bulk flour and yards of calico. Instead, it provides essential art and design for a new generation of urban dwellers.”
2701 Larimer Street
Daily 2701 Larimer St, Denver Colorado